Interview with Terri Klaes Harper

Published 2013-11-23.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee because it so well captures life in the deep South in the depression era through the innocent eyes of a child, mixing humor and serious matters in a charming way. Atticus is probably my favorite literary character.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a literary masterpiece. Using Death as the narrator gives way to a different perspective, and amazing imagery and figurative language, so that not only does the book present a heart-warming and heart-wrenching story at once, but it does so in a way that shows the beauty of our language and words.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is the newest addition to my favorites list. It's geeky fun with '80s trivia mixed in.
What do you read for pleasure?
I don't like to box myself in to any category. I love to read and was a literature major, so I read the classics, young adult fiction, dystopian fiction, thrillers, and anything that looks interesting really.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Just like my protagonist in Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl, Drew, I grew up in California and moved to Virginia in the middle of seventh grade. Obviously, since that is the setting backdrop for Drew, this experience had a huge influence on my writing. I fictionalized much of the book and will continue to do so in the rest of the series, but she is my alter-ego and my experiences reflect in her for sure.
When did you first start writing?
I've been writing since I learned how. I still have a few stories I wrote for assignments back in second and third grade. It's something I always enjoyed, but I didn't realize it was a talent until ninth grade when my English teacher encouraged me to write more, and I did. It became an outlet and an escape for me. I love getting lost in my characters' lives and experiences.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating something... and words.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on Drew Hotchner's freshman year as an ordinary girl. I plan to write a whole series for Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl, with each year in high school as its own book.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Other than the mundane obligations of life, when I'm not writing, I like to run, read, and spend time with my husband and my dogs. Robert and I love movies, so our quality time often just means cuddling on the couch with our two Australian shepherds and eating popcorn.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, in second grade I was assigned to write a story about going on an adventure to a place called Cats-A-Lot. I was also expected to create my own illustrations and divide it into chapters.
What is your writing process?
That depends on what I'm writing. Mostly, ideas come to me faster than I can really do anything about them and at strange times, so I tend to write them down or record them in whatever way is most convenient at the time, and then I try to piece it together later in some sort of haphazard outline. Sometimes, with shorter pieces, the outline is just in my head.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The publishing world is a confusing and quickly changing place. I weighed my options and decided I'd rather keep my rights exclusively to myself. Well, that and not having to wait so long to go through the old fashioned process. I figured this way I could make my book available and take my chances on obscurity.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
If I don't get out of bed, life will just continue around me without me. I don't want to miss out on anything, so I get out of bed and dig in right away.
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